It’s always fun to match a watch to a destination. And given that the destination in question was Miami, it was pretty clear which watch to take...
The Geckota Chronotimer has been undergoing something of a reinvention recently. Not only is it about to receive a brand new name to reflect its unique heritage - the trademark is being applied for as you read this - but it's also now available in a trio of vivacious dial colours as part of the latest Aurora collection: aqua, purple, and green.
These are watches that scream summer vibes, especially when paired with FKM rubber tropical straps (FKM standing for a particularly resilient type of rubber, which is more or less indestructible).
So that's how the latest iteration of Geckota ended up coming with me to Florida: 'the sunshine state'. And it was soon clear that I had made an excellent choice, for several reasons. Firstly: just look at it. If there's a watch design that better encapsulates the spirit of sunshine and palm trees, I'm yet to see it. The almost-turquoise aqua blue of the dial also mirrors the colour of the sea, as well as the hue of a particularly lurid cocktail that I was poured once in the hotel bar, which apparently had something to do with blue curaçao and - judging by the 'acquired' taste - toilet cleaner.Because if there's one thing that Miami is famous for, apart from vice, it's dive bars. And you could in any case argue that this goes hand in hand with the vice.
Probably the best example of the genre is Mac's Club Deuce; a genuine dive bar as seen in Miami Vice. The cast and crew used to drink there, as did John Travolta and Humphrey Bogart. It was apparently a favourite haunt of chef and adventurer Anthony Bourdain too - which just goes to show how much of a walk on the wild side it really is. Especially if you plan to visit the 'restroom' (which isn't very restful at all). But that's all part of the atmosphere, right? Hit me again, barman...
Mac's is of course situated at the epicentre of Miami life on Miami Beach, which is best known for its art deco buildings with pastel paintwork. And that's yet another reason why the aqua watch fits so neatly into the cityscape: it's an accurate reflection of the vividly nostalgic colour palette that evokes a recently bygone era; an age in which things were a bit more light and frivolous. There's something about Miami that encourages retro-cool. I saw two pink Cadillacs within hours of arriving, and people really do go around wearing incredibly loud floral shirts with palm trees on them. Even more incredibly, they somehow manage to look quite hip. To the extent that I actually contemplated getting one (in turquoise blue) to look the part and set off my aqua Geckota while cruising down the strip.
I managed to resist this temptation, which is just as well, because you know that it would have been the clothing equivalent of the bottle of ouzo that might taste absolutely perfect in the sunset of a Greek island, but less appealing when you pull it down from your kitchen shelf in Slough.
The Geckota Chronotimer, by contrast, has the opposite effect: it brings a bit of sunshine to your life even when you're wearing a plain (or soberly-striped) shirt, without ever looking brash. It's a bit like the trademark signature of renowned fashion designer Paul Smith, who specialised in classically discreet jackets, for example, with a bit of crazy colour in the lining. That's exactly what it's like when the Geckota Aurora pops out from under your shirt cuff: a fact that even the notoriously conservative Rolex has cottoned onto, with the recent re-release of their coloured 'Stella' dials.
The irony is that it's not even particularly sunny in Miami a lot of the time: or at least it wasn't when I was there. Instead, it was just plain hot. Mostly the weather was overcast and muggy, with the occasional torrential shower that turned the streets into rivers. It's a climate that you could accurately describe as 'tropical' and so this was where the tropical strap came into its own.
Water runs off it easily, whether that's from the sky or the sweat from your wrist. Or indeed from the Atlantic Ocean, as Miami is also a major port. I'd not noticed that my hotel was so close to it until I pulled back the curtains one morning and found a cruise ship staring back at me. That also accounts for the age demographic in Florida, which is a famously popular place to retire. Don't forget, these are all people who watched Miami Vice avidly the first time around. It explains a lot.